Skip to content

A Thai New Year drink

December 31, 2011

The Traditional Thai New Year is in mid April, the onset of the rainy season. We intend to celebrate the bureaucratic New Year (December 31st) with rice spirits boosted with kra chai dam, a ‘Thai ginseng’ or ‘Thai viagra’. The scientific name of this ginger relative is Kaempferia parviflora (Zingiberaceae). It is native to Southeast Asia and cultivated here at Dokmai Garden in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. All leaves are now gone, and the rhizomes sleep underground, and so this is the time when they have the highest potency, if any. At present it is sold in the Chiang Mai markets and a piece of a rhizome is simply put in a bottle of rice spirits to extract medicinal compounds.

Some studies claim there is an aphrodisiac activity, perhaps through increased blood stream to the testis, or by stimulating testosterone production. However, caution is recommended until more scientific studies have been performed. The raw rhizome has a slightly bitter gingery flavour and to me this is just a curious spice, like truffles or cinnamon.

The price for Kaempferia parviflora at the Hang Dong market is 10 Baht/100 g. The rice spirits cost 105 Baht/0.3 l.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2011 2:23 PM

    More research is needed, indeed! Ha! Sign me up!

    I think it would be better served with a thimble full of maize or sorghum spirits. When will that be on the Dokmai menu?

    • January 1, 2012 9:37 AM

      Hi Jeff! Most welcome here to try our drinks. The fun is guaranteed, but not the medicinal impact.

      Eric & Kate

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: